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Can Doctors Refuse Medicare Patients

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You Dont Need To Be Admitted At The Emergency Room

Can Doctors Legally Refuse To Treat Patients?

According to EMTALA, hospitals cannot deny patient treatment who seek emergency medical attention. You might be wondering if you have to go to the ER first before getting your treatment? Well, I dont think so, because once you get in the hospital proper such as in the parking lot, driveway, sidewalk, or just within 250 yards through the main hospital building, you can receive your treatment.

Income Adjustments And Outlier Screens

There are several reasons why discrepancies may exist between calculated net income and reported net incomes. First, errors may be present in the practice cost calculations that enter into the decomposition equation. Total physician practice costs were estimated by summing the following costs: office, equipment, supplies, and automobile costs malpractice insurance and physician and employee salaries.

Second, a problem arises when income data are reported within ranges and interval midpoints are used to approximate reported incomes. Discrepancies appear when a physician’s actual income does not coincide with these midpoints. For example, a $50,000 discrepancy is possible if an incorporated physician reports his gross income within the $400,000-$500,000 range when, in fact, his actual gross income is $400,000. By calculating net income as a residual and then comparing it with the reported value, either or both the gross and net incomes were moved to the endpoints of the allowable range.

Approximately 20 percent of the sample were missing gross revenue and/or net income values. Replacement values for the missing data had to be calculated. Gross revenue was estimated by the following reduced-form equation:


where GR = gross revenue ,


NOTE: t statistics in parentheses.

What To Do If Your Doctor Won’t Take Medicare

Have you noticed that as we age, we seem to have more conversations around medical issues whether we like it or not?

Among my friends, some of these conversations have taken on an added urgency as we near age 65, when Medicare will likely become our primary health insurance. Weve been looking forward to that day, believing our health care costs and hassles will be minimized.

The Medicare Complaint Thats Growing

But were learning that Medicares not so easy after all. There are still monthly premium payments, copays and deductibles and not all claims are processed smoothly.

Even more distressing is the complaint Ive been hearing over and over: Some doctors are now refusing to take Medicare patients. Theyre balking at the federal health programs mandatory, low reimbursement rates and high paperwork burdens.

For example, while nearly 80% of the Texas Medical Associations doctors were taking new Medicare patients in 2000, last year fewer than 60% were, according to a recent PBS NewsHour report.

This is unsettling news, but I have some advice that could help if your doctor balks at taking Medicare.

Your Choices When Your Doctor Opts Out of Medicare

How Big Is the Problem?

Were hearing of problems more than the statistics show, says Joe Baker, president of theMedicare Rights Center, a nonprofit that helps Medicare beneficiaries navigate the systems complexities.

3 Ways Doctors Deal with Medicare Patients

The Importance of Taking Precautions

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A Failed System Of Central Planning

According to the New York Times report,Medicare reimbursement for doctors in many cases does not evencover the cost of providing care to Medicare patients. Remarkably,in spite of the sobering news that doctors are refusing to acceptsenior citizens enrolled in Medicare, the American Association ofRetired Persons , the powerful “seniors lobby,” has voicedstrong opposition to increased payments to doctors and otherproviders in Medicare unless Congress first agrees to provide a”meaningful” prescription drug benefit in the Medicare program–abenefit that, by the AARP’s own definition, would cost no less than$750 billion over 10 years.2 The high price of this AARPdemand is far in excess of leading Administration and congressionalproposals and would guarantee a sharp acceleration of the rapidlyrising cost of the financially troubled Medicare program.

Inreality, as former Senator Robert Kerrey , co-chairman of theConcord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to federalentitlement reforms, recently reminded the Senate FinanceCommittee, Medicare is neither fully funded nor a true healthinsurance program:

The current un-funded liability for futurebeneficiaries is $10 trillion before a prescription drug benefit isadded. Second, it is not true insurance because the insurer isunderwriting a risk that is almost certain to be used continually.This is especially true with most of the prescription drugproposals where the usage will be expected and annual.3

Can Doctors Refuse Medicare

Now Accepting Medicare Patients

The short answer is “yes.” Thanks to the federal program’s low reimbursement rates, stringent rules, and grueling paperwork process, many doctors are refusing to accept Medicare’s payment for services.

Medicare typically pays doctors only 80% of what private health insurance pays. While a gap always existed, many physicians feel that Medicare reimbursements haven’t kept pace with inflation in the past several years, especially the rising costs of running a medical practice. At the same time, the rules and regulations keep getting more onerous, as do penalties for not complying with them.

Most American physicians participate in Medicare and “accept assignment” for their services without additional charges. However, if your doctor is non-participating or has opted out of Medicare, here are five options.

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Can My Doctor Refuse To Treat Medicare Patients

posted on June 16, 2014

Can my doctor refuse to treat me now that I am on Medicare? In some situations, yes. Your doctor can refuse to treat Medicare patients. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your doctor may refuse to see you. If you are being treated for psychiatric conditions, your doctor may treat you but refuse to accept Medicare.

The Cares Act Of 2020

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus emergency stimulus package, called the CARES Act, into law. It expanded Medicare’s ability to cover treatment and services for those affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act also:

  • Increases flexibility for Medicare to cover telehealth services.
  • Increases Medicare payments for COVID-19related hospital stays and durable medical equipment.

For Medicaid, the CARES Act clarifies that non-expansion states can use the Medicaid program to cover COVID-19related services for uninsured adults who would have qualified for Medicaid if the state had chosen to expand. Other populations with limited Medicaid coverage are also eligible for coverage under this state option.

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Reasons Why A Doctor Can Deny A Prospective Patient Treatment

There are a few reasons why a doctor can refuse to treat a patient. The most obvious of these is if the doctor does not treat patients with the patients specific condition. For example, an individual suffering from a throat infection cannot realistically expect a gynecologist to diagnose and treat his or her condition.

Other reasons why a doctor can deny treatment to an individual include:

  • The patient exhibits drug-seeking behavior
  • The patient is disruptive or otherwise difficult to handle
  • The doctor does not have a working relationship with the patients healthcare insurance provider
  • The doctors personal convictions, such as a doctor refusing to perform an abortion for religious reasons or refusing to prescribe narcotics for pain and
  • The patient or the patients spouse is a medical malpractice lawyer.

However, there are cases where doctors may not refuse to treat patients. In emergency situations, responding doctors and other healthcare providers are required to stabilize the patients condition regardless of the patients ability to pay for the treatment or provide proof of insurance. This is required by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act .

Do All Doctors Accept Medicare Beneficiaries As Patients

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People with Original Medicare have access to doctors across the United States. Although CMS does not publicly track how many doctors accept Medicare patients, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 93% of primary care providers surveyed accepted Medicare. However, only 72% of them were taking new Medicare patients. Some providers who dont accept new Medicare patients will continue seeing existing patients who move from private coverage into Medicare.

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The Emergency Medical Treatment And Active Labor Act

As its name implies, EMTALA also requires healthcare providers to provide healthcare to a laboring woman until her baby is delivered. Once the baby is born or the patients condition is stabilized, healthcare providers are not required to provide further services.

There is one exception to the healthcare providers right to deny services: discrimination. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for a healthcare provider to deny a patient treatment based on the patients age, sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin.

Why Doctors Are Frustrated With Themedicare Bureaucracy

Physicians and medical service providersnot only are confronted with decreases in payments for Medicareservices, but also are forced to deal with obstacles within theonerous Medicare bureaucracy.

Reams of RedTape.Detailed central planning requires meticulous regulation. This isinherent in the system and inescapable. Thus, Medicare is governedby a vast and growing body of red tape, with pages of rules,regulations, guidelines, and related paperwork numbering in thetens of thousands and continually increased by Congress.

Inthe Balanced Budget Act of 1997, for example, Congress gave theMedicare bureaucracy more than 700 additional specificdirectives.25 According to a consensusstatement on Medicare reform by health care policy experts, basedon a May 2001 conference on Medicare at Vanderbilt UniversitySchool of Medicine, “Paperwork and compliance costs have forcedproviders to employ staff dedicated to the process–rather than toproviding health care. The increasing complication of paperwork andcompliance with regulations, has resulted in less time forproviders to spend with patients.”26

Thisenormous regulatory regime, with the sea of paperwork it generates,dwarfs that of other federal agencies it also is necessarily andpainfully slow. According to the GAO, in the late 1990s, the periodbetween the Medicare bureaucracy’s initial proposal for a rule andthe final publication of that rule was, on average, nearly twoyears.27

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Reasons Why Your Doctor Wont See Medicare Patients

Many patients are panicked that their physician will stop seeing Medicare patients, and that is not without cause. Physicians that care for Medicare patients do so at a loss to their practice which they can only hope to make up for from other payers. As money gets tighter and tighter, physicians are forced to decide if they can continue to see any patient at a loss.

Although a number of surveys indicate that few Medicare patients have difficulty finding primary care physicians, much has been written criticizing the methodology of these surveys. A survey in North Carolina in August 2012 revealed that of 200 family physicians called by mystery shoppers, only 100 offices indicated they accept new Medicare patients.

Here are 10 reasons why physicians might consider not seeing new Medicare patients, not participating with Medicare or opting completely out of the Medicare program.

Can A Hospital Force A Patient To Be Discharged

Can Doctors Refuse to Accept Medicare?

A 90-day lifetime reserve is also included in Medicare coverage for illnesses that lead to hospitalization.As a Medicare patient, however, your health could suffer and the hospital may decide to charge you more to discharge you.The hospital can charge you for services even if you are allowed to leave.

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What Kinds Of Medicare Providers Dont Always Accept Medicare Payments

Non-participating Medicare providers. These physicians and other medical providers might accept Medicare assignment in some cases, but they havenât agreed to accept Medicareâs approved amount for every service.

If your medical provider falls in this category, he or she is a non-participating Medicare provider. By federal law, non-participating Medicare providers can bill patients no more than 15% above the Medicare-approved amount for certain Medicare-covered services. This is known as a limiting charge. The limiting charge does not apply to durable medical equipment or most medical supplies.

As a patient of a non-participating Medicare provider, you will be responsible for your 20% coinsurance plus the limiting charge cost. You may have to pay the entire bill at time of service and be reimbursed for the amount Medicare pays later.

Medicare Advantage providers. Perhaps you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that has a provider network. Either the Medicare Advantage plan or the provider may terminate their contract. They should provide you notice in advance of the contract termination.

In this case, the Medicare Advantage plan may assist you in finding another participating medical provider who provides the same kind of care. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organization and you continue to see a medical provider who doesnât participate in the plan, you will typically pay the full bill for non-emergency services.

What Can We Do

We can help you find doctors in your area who accept Medicare, and if you choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage, we can help you find providers in your network to get treatment from. And no matter what the circumstances are, we at Turning 65 Solutions will help you find a way as we help you along the way. All it takes is a call at 217-6711. And, if you prefer emailing, you can email us at [email protected].

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The Percentage Who Dont

The percentage of doctors refusing Medicare patients has been growing over the course of the 21st-century as paperwork begins to pile up for those not dropping Medicare patients. A study in Texas in 2013 showed around 60% of family physicians were actively accepting patients covered by Medicare, falling from 80% in 2003, The number of doctors refusing Medicare patients continue to grow with reports showing 22,000 physicians nationwide no longer accept Medicare insurance due to the high-pressure demands of the program.

Do I Need Cards Other Than My Medicare Card

A physician can refuse treating unvaccinated patients | Verify

You may have other insurance cards in addition to cards for Original Medicare , Medicare Advantage and Medigap. Insurers will usually send you a new card each year, although your Original Medicare card will not change. Its a good idea to make sure your providers have up-to-date insurance information for you so there arent delays in billing for medical care.

Although it all adds up to a lot to carry, its probably best to keep your Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Part D cards with you at all times. Because theres less of a chance you might spontaneously need other insurance cards like a private dental plan or long-term care insurance policy so you can probably store those in a safe place at home.

If you are struggling to choose Medicare coverage that includes your health care providers, free help is available from State Health Insurance Assistance Programs in each state.

Josh Schultz has a strong background in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. He coordinated a Medicare ombudsman contract at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City, and represented clients in extensive Medicare claims and appeals.

In addition to advocacy work, Josh helped implement federal and state health insurance exchanges at the technology firm hCentive. He also has held consulting roles, including as an associate at Sachs Policy Group, where he worked with insurer, hospital and technology clients on Medicare and Medicaid issues.

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Opting Out Of Medicare

The majority of providers who care for adults do accept Medicare for insurance. It is a vital part of their medical practice. Some healthcare providers that opt-in for Medicare, however, choose not to participate in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The Fee Schedule is released each year and is a recommended list of prices for medical services. A “participating provider” accepts assignment and cannot charge you more than this amount. A “non-participating provider” can charge you up to 15 percent more and still be part of the Medicare program.

Other healthcare providers and medical practitioners opt-out of Medicare altogether. They may choose to accept private insurance plans or may choose to have their patients pay out of pocket for all services. Some practices have even turned to new models of care like concierge medicine and direct primary care. In these cases, your provider will have you pay a monthly or annual fee for care.

Medicare And Medicaid Fee Reductions And Physicians’ Incomes

If average fees, which include adjustments for third-party fee reductions and patient bad debts, run 70-77 percent of physicians’ usuals, then without any reductions physicians’ incomes would be 23-30 percent higher than they already are, ceteris paribus. With just bad debts and no insurer reductions, incomes would be roughly 10-20 percent higher, given average bad debt ratios. Heavy Medicaid participants should be especially affected by insurer fee discounting, as average fees run only 50 percent of usuals in many cases.

In this section reported net incomes are compared by specialty and extent of Medicaid participation to see if lower average fees do result in proportionally lower incomes. Net incomes are then decomposed into markups, productivity, and physician work effort to explain why incomes of heavy public program participants are not even lower than they are. Finally, a simulation of incomes and average fees under alternative Medicare and Medicaid fee scenarios is conducted.

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Medicare Does Not Pay For An Annual Physical

Most Medicare patients want a head-to-toe annual visit, but Medicare is geared toward sick care not well care. Medicare did introduce new wellness visits in 2011, but these visits are counseling visits only, and do not include a physical exam. Physicians are stuck between a rock and a hard place as they try to give patient the care they are asking for without having the patient pay 100% out-of-pocket for it.

More Physicians No Longer Seeing Medicare Patients

The Year in Medicine 2010: Slideshow

The federal health program that serves seniors and individuals with disabilities is losing doctors wholl see its patients.

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the number of doctors wholl take Medicare patients is falling.
  • A combination of constant battles over reimbursement rates, red tape and payment below what services actually cost has simmered for a long time.
  • Medicare now faces the same tell-tale signs of trouble as Medicaid, the low-income health program. One-third of primary care doctors wont take new patients on Medicaid.
  • While the number of Medicare decliners remains relatively small, the trend is growing. If it continues, that could make it more difficult for seniors to get timely treatment.

More doctors are reducing their dependence on Medicare. Theyve done this in several ways. At the same time, the Medicare population is growing because of the retirement of baby boomers now and over the next couple of decades.

The number of doctors not accepting Medicare has more than doubled since 2009. Some 9,539 doctors dropped out of Medicare practice in 2012. Thats risen dramatically from 3,700 in 2009.

While 685,000 doctors take Medicare patients, their frustration factor has grown.

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